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Epigenetics and gene expression analysis of the longevity vs. reproduction trade-off in Apis mellifera L. (Apidae, Hymenoptera) queens

Grant number: 16/15881-0
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate (Direct)
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2016
Effective date (End): February 29, 2020
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Genetics - Animal Genetics
Principal Investigator:Klaus Hartmann Hartfelder
Grantee:Carlos Antônio Mendes Cardoso Júnior
Host Institution: Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (FMRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):17/09269-3 - Methylome analysis of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) worker ovaries in response to social condition, BE.EP.DD


DNA methylation (DNAm) is an important epigenetic modification that controls gene expression in vertebrates, capable of affecting the entire life cycle. Its role in invertebrates is, however, little understood, primarily because of the lack of a full complement of the DNAm machinery in the two principal model organisms, Drosophila melanogaster and Caenorhabditis elegans. Consequently, there are only few studies that address molecular mechanisms on how DNAm may control the life cycle of invertebrates, especially so in the case of the queens of highly eusocial insects, which are at the same time highly reproductive and extremely long lived. In this context, the honey bee, Apis mellifera, has emerged as a model organism for invertebrates, because encoded in its genome it has a functional machinery for the methylation of CpG dinucleotides in vivo, consisting of DNA methyltransferases homologous to those of mammals. Interestingly, preliminary results which we have obtained on honey bee workers provide evidence for a new regulatory module involving DNAm and microRNAs that target vitellogenin gene expression and promote lifespan extension in these bees. This new regulatory circuit appears to be independent of a caloric restriction phenotype and also of variation in endocrine system functions, especially the synthesis of juvenile hormone. It is, however, not yet clear how DNAm may play a role in the life cycle of queens, especially so concerning its implications in these social insects for the reversion or interruption of the longevity vs. reproduction trade-off that typically characterizes the life cycle of animals. With this in mind we propose to investigate the impacts of DNAm on longevity and reproduction in queens of A. mellifera, aiming to provide information directed towards the understanding of epigenetic mechanisms that act within this reconfigured longevity vs. reproduction trade-off. (AU)

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Scientific publications (6)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
CARDOSO-JUNIOR, C. A. M.; OLDROYD, B. P.; RONAI, I.. Vitellogenin expression in the ovaries of adult honeybee workers provides insights into the evolution of reproductive and social traits. Insect Molecular Biology, v. 30, n. 3, . (17/09269-3, 16/15881-0)
CARDOSO-JUNIOR, CARLOS ANTONIO MENDES; RONAI, ISOBEL; HARTFELDER, KLAUS; OLDROYD, BENJAMIN P.. Queen pheromone modulates the expression of epigenetic modifier genes in the brain of honeybee workers. BIOLOGY LETTERS, v. 16, n. 12, . (16/15881-0, 17/09269-3)
SCHUMANN, N. A. B.; CARDOSO-JUNIOR, C. A. M.; SILVA, E. H.; UEIRA-VIEIRA, C.; BELETTI, M. E.; FRANCO, M. B.; BEZERRA-LAURE, M.; ARAUJO, G. R.; TRAVENCOLO, B. A. N.; BONETTI, A. M.. Three-dimensional reconstruction of corpora allata nucleus reveals insights into epigenetic mechanisms of caste differentiation in Melipona scutellaris stingless bees. Apidologie, v. 50, n. 3, p. 330-339, . (17/09269-3, 16/15881-0)
CARDOSO-JUNIOR, CARLOS A. M.; GUIDUGLI-LAZZARINI, KARINA R.; HARTFELDER, KLAUS. DNA methylation affects the lifespan of honey bee (Apis mellifera L.) workers - Evidence for a regulatory module that involves vitellogenin expression but is independent of juvenile hormone function. Insect Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, v. 92, p. 21-29, . (16/15881-0, 14/26659-1, 11/03171-5)
MENDES CARDOSO-JUNIOR, CARLOS ANTONIO; EYER, MICHAEL; DAINAT, BENJAMIN; HARTFELDER, KLAUS; DIETEMANN, VINCENT. Social context influences the expression of DNA methyltransferase genes in the honeybee. SCIENTIFIC REPORTS, v. 8, . (16/15881-0, 17/09269-3)
CARDOSO-JUNIOR, CARLOS A. M.; YAGOUND, BORIS; RONAI, ISOBEL; REMNANT, EMILY J.; HARTFELDER, KLAUS; OLDROYD, BENJAMIN P.. DNA methylation is not a driver of gene expression reprogramming in young honey bee workers. Molecular Ecology, v. 30, n. 19, . (16/15881-0, 17/09269-3, 17/09128-0)
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)
CARDOSO JÚNIOR, Carlos Antônio Mendes. Epigenetics in a honeybee hive. 2020. Doctoral Thesis - Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Faculdade de Medicina de Ribeirão Preto (PCARP/BC) Ribeirão Preto.

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